March 29, 2018

Product Review Updates for Winter Shirts

I wanted to do an update post to some gear reviews I did earlier this winter, specifically on winter shirts.

Update #1: SmartWool Women's Merino Midweight Pattern 1/4 Zip Top

These shirts have been AMAZING.  Both of them still look brand new despite being worn constantly all winter.  I've worn them hiking, shopping, to the barn, to the bar, to watch TV on the get the idea.

I wore them for nearly every ride all winter long, and only washed them once every couple of weeks.  Even that was probably overkill, wool just doesn't hold onto smells the way other fabrics do, and is reportedly "naturally antibacterial and stain resistant".

(I mean seriously, my husband is the first one to complain if I don't change out of my barn clothes fast enough, and he didn't notice these shirts smelling once all winter, and many times I wore them from the barn straight to sitting next to him at the bar.)

In summary, these were worth every penny!  The black one is still available at RW on clearance in L and XL for $79, but any mid-weight SmartWool will perform just as well I would think.

Update #2: Ariat Ladies' Gridwork 1/2 Zip Top

This shirt...sigh.

Photo from my original review

This shirt has not worn well at all, and despite the fact that I love the way it looks, I cannot recommend anyone buy it unless you get it on super sale.  I've followed the washing/drying instructions perfectly, and even still the fabric on both sides of the hands pilled significantly within a month of getting the shirt.

There are also threads coming out of it at various places.  It just feels cheaply made and like it was meant to last a single season - which is not okay especially for the price point. It stings even more when my only other expensive winter shirts, the SmartWool ones, still look brand new and seem like they'll last a lifetime.

I took these photos in December, so this is only 6-8 weeks worth of wear:

I left a negative review on Dover's website about it, and to their credit they did reach out to me and ask if they could make it right, and I said don't bother.  It's just a poor quality product, more Ariat's fault than Dover's, but I appreciated them reaching out all the same.


  1. Dover will forever have horrible shipping rates and crappy sales, but they do win for customer service for things like your shirt.

    1. Yeah, have to agree with that. I've had nothing but good experience with their customer service over the years.

  2. What a shame about the Ariat shirt! I have their lighter weight “Lowell” winter top and that has worn beautifully for several seasons!

    1. I'm glad to hear that! I won't hold it against Ariat forever, but it'll be in the back of my mind when I try their shirts in the future for sure.

  3. I'm sad that your Ariat shirt hasn't weathered well b/c I got one on sale and it's become my favorite shirt ever! Like I want more it's so comfy and lovely. So far mine's held up so I don't know if yours is the flukey one or mine is? I got the blue color. I haven't had mine as long so it might be just a matter of time but I got mine in January and have worn it often enough. Who knows with clothes!!!! I do have an ariat vest I got in the fall that has pilled like crazy on the front but otherwise has held up and is the perfect weight for my area so I keep using it. But Smartwool is forever amazing so you can never go wrong with that :)